Vodafone Idea Ltd said on Monday it plans to rebrand itself as the debt-ridden telecoms carrier, which has been losing customers, looks to change its image three years after it announced the biggest merger in India’s telecoms market. The loss-making carrier on Friday approved fundraising of up to Rs 25,000 crore at a time it owes roughly Rs 50,000 crore ($6.81 billion) in dues to the government. The dues, according to the Supreme Court order, will have to be paid over a ten-year period. Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain’s Vodafone and India’s Idea Cellular, said it will go by the brand name “Vi”. “This is an important next step to launch our new unified business under a new unified brand, Vi. Back in 2018, the combination of Vodafone India and Idea created the new champion for the government’s vision of Digital India. As the integration of the two businesses is now complete, it’s time for a fresh start,” Vodafone Group Plc CEO Nick Read said. Commenting on the new brand, Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Limited chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said: “With 1.2 billion Indians accessing voice and data services at the world’s lowest tariffs across 5 lakh villages, the ubiquitous wireless network in India is unmatched for its reach and impact in people’s lives. With our new brand – Vi, we stand committed to partner the Government to accelerate India’s progression towards a digital economy, enabling millions of citizens to connect to the digital revolution and build a better tomorrow.” Telecom carriers in the country have already raised some subscription tariffs as they look for ways to pay down government levies. Vodafone Idea lost 4.7 million customers in May alone, while market leader Reliance Jio added 3.7 million. The Indian unit of Vodafone had a gross debt of Rs 1.19 lakh crore as of June end. Shares of the telecom operator were trading more than 4 per cent higher in the afternoon trade.
Sep 07, 2020, 03:18PM ISTSource: TOI.in